A history of the language of friendship in international treaties

Heather Devere, Simon Mark, Jane Verbitsky
Content Type
Journal Article
International Politics
Issue Number
Publication Date
January 2011
Palgrave Macmillan
While the concept of friendship has been largely invisible within Western political debate, in the international political domain, 'friendship' and the language of friends have been prominent in treaties and alliances between nations. Database searches on the topic of 'politics and friendship' locate predominantly references concerning relationships between states. However, it has been war and enmity rather than friendship that has dominated analysis in international relations literature. In this article we provide a history of international treaties, focusing in particular on those named as friendship treaties. We will discuss the use of concepts and terminology related to friendship and the nomenclature associated with international alliances. It will be argued that friendship is more a tool of public relations and spin, rather than diplomacy and peace-building, and the cynical use of friendship does not sit easily with the Nehruvian concept of friendship as an important method of diplomacy that can act as a path to peace, goodwill and understanding between states and nations.
Diplomacy, Politics